World Golf Village Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Posted by: Rick Pariani in Uncategorized

Yesterday, most folks, when contemplating a visit or a move to Florida, only thought about the theme parks of Central Florida or the sun and surf of South Florida in Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Key West or Naples. Throughout the history of settlement in Florida, these areas and coasts got all the attention as people flocked from around the world over into these rapidly-developing communities, at times creating the fastest growth markets in the United States.

As a result, life became as hectic as it was promising. The bloom came off the rose as roads were constantly being widened, schools were being taught in portable classrooms, lines for everything became untenable and “lifestyle” only blossomed in one’s imagination.

Today, visitors and move-ins understand that Florida offers much more diversity and opportunities throughout the state. In fact, Northeast Florida has emerged as one of the most attractive and favored areas, not only in Florida, but on the entire eastern seaboard. The seasonal climate here is punctuated by four seasonal changes, all of which are discernable yet mild and outdoor life is beautiful. Northeast Florida, known as Florida’s First Coast, offers the very best attributes of the Florida lifestyle, in a real and tangible way, not just imaginary. All of the elements of the natural, outdoor Florida environment combine with a healthy and robust business climate and a proud military presence to attract friendly, family-oriented, entrepreneurial-minded people who make a confident and smart choice to make the region their home.

Tomorrow, you too can make the right choice to relocate to Northeast Florida. One of the most desirable and successful communities to be conceived recently is the World Golf Village (WGV) in St. Johns County, Florida. Conveniently situated between the city of Jacksonville and historic St. Augustine, World Golf Village is the perfect place for establishing yourself and your families in an environment that is like no other place in Northeast Florida. It was planned, designed and developed to mature gracefully over time and to evolve with authenticity and originality. A unique collection of golf, lake and woodland neighborhoods, along with a variety of schools, services, shops, offices and destination-oriented entertainment distinguish community life at World Golf Village.

The 6,300 acre community was launched in 1994 with the construction of a privately-financed interstate interchange on Interstate 95 which currently affords six lanes (three in each direction) from World Golf Village, north to Savannah, Georgia and south to Orlando. The Jacksonville International Airport is a 40-minute ride north from World Golf Village and downtown Jacksonville is only 25 minutes away. The Atlantic beaches and the St. Johns River are both only a short drive away for high quality, regional recreation. Old Town St. Augustine, our nation’s oldest settlement, is about 12 minutes southeast and is a favorite daytime and evening venue for most all visitors and residents in the area.

The Northeast Florida area is renowned for its pristine beaches and river, outdoor recreation, hunting, fishing and birding, national sports franchises and collegiate rivalries, historic and natural resources, culture and the arts opportunities, state colleges and universities, world-class medical institutions, global commerce and great community fellowship. There is much to see and do, without combating the hustle and bustle of a major metropolitan area. And, many other places are within an easy trip for weekend sojourns, like Atlanta, Georgia, Charleston, South Carolina, Orlando, Florida or the sugar-sand beaches of the Florida Panhandle.

Upon completion, World Golf Village will have 7,200 residential homes, 1,225 hotel rooms, 583,000 square feet of commercial uses, 2,493,000 square feet of office uses and 2,464,000 square feet of mixed-uses once it reaches completion. Currently over half of the homes have been built and the majority of the land for the balance of all uses has been sold. In 2007, two brand new St. Johns County schools opened on World Golf Village-donated lands. Pacetti Bay Middle School and Wards Creek Elementary School, which joined the centrally located Mill Creek Elementary School and nearby Bartram High School and Nease High School, offer blue-ribbon caliber education and superlative athletics.

A County Fire Station opened in 2006 and St. Augustine’s Flagler Hospital is making plans for a full-service 350-bed hospital. New community services including a CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens Pharmacy and a 54,000 square foot Publix Grocery and Market all opened in 2008. These recent projects join the list of previously-existing business and medical offices, restaurants, shops, convenience stores, gasoline merchants, grocers, day care academy, a hotel, a church and the national headquarters for the American Culinary Federation. Additionally, a 1.5 million-square-foot regional mall project with nationally-acclaimed retailers is set to commence construction in 2009. A new federally sponsored Veterans’ Administration Nursing Home broke ground in 2008 and will provide hospice and health care to local veterans of all branches of the United States military.

World Golf Village is the home of the International Golf Museum and World Golf Hall of Fame which opened to the public on May 19, 1998. Every major golf association and affiliation in the world participates as a founding member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is complemented with a 300 seat IMAX Theater which shows first run, commercial box office sensations along with the discovery and travel-oriented IMAX format films. The setting around the Hall of Fame includes the 300-room Renaissance Resort Hotel, 84,000-square-foot St. Johns County Convention Center, PGA TOUR Productions’ world headquarters, gracious timeshare condo hotel facilities, exclusive shops and restaurants such as the prestigious PGA TOUR Stop golf emporium and the flagship Murray Brothers Caddyshack restaurant.

All of the attractions are linked together with a shady, outdoor promenade called the Walk of Champions. In a reference to the famed 17th Island Hole from the TPC course at Sawgrass, a 132-yard challenge hole beckons visitors to try their swing, alongside an 18-hole championship putting course. All in all, the core area of the Hall of Fame provides entertainment, leisure and social opportunities for visitors and residents alike. Some of the annual events, staged either on the Walk of Champions or at the World Golf Hall of Fame and resort hotel, include the World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, World Putting Championship, British car show, Mustang and Corvette car shows, Riding Into History National Antique Motorcycle Show, Fourth of July fireworks, New Years Eve celebration, Mothers Day and Fathers Day special celebrations, National Golf Manufacturer’s Demo Days, Caddyshack celebrity golf tournament, philanthropic and charity golf tournaments and periodic live music performances.

The golf experience at the World Golf Village conjures up visions of the history, heritage and traditions of the sport with two 18-hole golf courses, each with their own practice facility and full service clubhouse. The Slammer and Squire course was designed by PGA TOUR Golf Course Properties in concert with Sam Snead (the Slammer) and Gene Sarazen (The Squire).

The King and Bear course is the first-ever, one-time collaborative golf design effort by Arnold Palmer (The King) and Jack Nicklaus (The Bear). Both World Golf Village golf courses offer exceptional, year-round golf memories and are maintained to the highest quality of fair play as well as challenge.

Overlooking the tower of the World Golf Hall of Fame, the PGA TOUR Golf Academy provides top-ranked, world-class instruction that allows participants to practice and train in the most beautiful and inspiring setting imaginable. The centerpiece of the King & Bear neighborhood is the original PGA TOUR Spa Laterra, which provides rejuvenating spa services at the Laterra condominiums for members, guests and visitors.

Twenty minutes away, on the Atlantic Ocean, the Serenata Beach Club offers an exquisite and exclusive setting for relaxing days at the beach. The Club has separate adult and youth pools, shade pavilions, activity rooms and premier food and beverage services. The Club hosts business and private functions, family events and holiday celebrations and has become a favorite wedding ceremony venue.

World Golf Village has set aside more than 2,700 acres of pristine wildlife habitat and water resource conservation lands into perpetual preservation easements. The community has been recognized with awards for its sensitive stewardship of the environment and for its peaceful balance between the built portions of the community and the preserved portions. Community pathways for walking, fitness and bicycling knit together all of the neighborhoods and link them with amenity centers, parks, playgrounds, ball fields, schools and neighbors.

The community’s common areas are landscaped with a native plant palette, featuring the venerable Southern Live Oak tree (Quercus virginiana). Rich in detail, soft in appearance, simple in its composition and green throughout the year, the landscape has been built around a conscious effort to create scale, mass and shade through the planting of more than 8,000 trees within the common areas, in addition to the trees planted on the two golf courses, in all of the residential yards and those trees that were preserved during careful development. Even with the skyline forest as a backdrop and the tree-lined streets as a framework, the hallmark of the landscape design and neighborhood layout is the ever-changing panoramic vistas which lead you throughout the community.

The home and homesite offerings at World Golf Village are both unique and varied with more than 30 distinctly different neighborhoods from which to choose, with eighteen of them inside the gates of the King & Bear. Some of the neighborhoods like Heritage Landing, The Meadows and the soon-to-be-developed Whisper Creek at World Golf Village offer individualized neighborhood settings within their realm. Options include carefree townhomes or condominiums, modest yet highly comfortable single-family homes and homesites or estate-sized opportunities for family living and entertaining.

As is expected in most crafted communities, these homes and homesites reflect a wide price range, starting in the mid – $150’s and ranging to $2 million. Many folks have chosen wisely, finding their dream home almost immediately, while others made an instant home for themselves in the first neighborhood they fell in love with. Some made the act of designing and building their home into an art form. The neighborhoods have a tremendous amount of character with the personality of the owners shining through, with an effective architectural review and compatibility system that is not rigid or confining. The system seeks to have a silver thread of continuity running through the fabric of the neighborhoods while promoting personal expression and preference. Surveys of World Golf Village residents have revealed a very happy bunch, indeed.

To learn more about the World Golf Village and other Northeast Florida communities, contact the professional real estate experts at Davidson Realty, Inc., at www.worldgolfrealestate.com or www.davidsonrealtyinc.com or preview the happenings at the World Golf Hall of Fame at www.wgv.com. When you do, we believe that you will not want to wait long to act on what you learn and sense about our place. In fact, you may want to act tomorrow to make World Golf Village and Northeast Florida your next home.

Rick Pariani is vice president of design and development for Davidson Development Inc., developer of World Golf Village. He is a registered landscape architect with 31 years of project experience in the planning, programming, design and implementation of mixed use, commercial, retail, office, residential, resort, recreational and resource preservation projects, both nationally and internationally.


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